It should come as no surprise that the new owners of The Custard Factory, Oval Real Estate, are keen to get things moving and get this iconic Birmingham building – at the very heart of Digbeth – back on it’s feet again and living up to its potential.

First up is a new street art, dance, music and comics focused one-day festival called High Vis Fest, exploding across the complex on Saturday 8th September, from 11am till 9pm, before moving onto The Ruin for the official after party.

High Viz Fest takes place in The Custard Factory in Digbeth Olly MacNamee | I Am Birmingham
High Vis Fest takes place in The Custard Factory in Digbeth

High Vis Fest promises to be a vibrant, energetic showcase of the best and brightest of Birmingham’s arts’ community. A small group of local artists, bloggers and educationalists have come together to put on a free, family-friendly event and hoping to make it an annual affair.

Already booked are established, internationally renowned artists such as Gent 48, Will Barras, and POSCA UK ambassador ThatBlokeWilson repping the street arts; with musical guest Lady Sanity headlining the High Vis Music Stage!

Then there’s comic book creators Lew Stringer (The Beano, Toxic) and Simon Myers (Doctor Who, Star Wars Insider) along with others in the Comichaus Comic Zone.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, with over 40 artists confirmed and painting throughout the day. Also, along for the day is street artist sensation Foka Wolf, bringing his own brand of socially conscious art to the day.

High Viz Fest takes place on Saturday 8th SeptemberOlly MacNamee
High Vis Fest takes place on Saturday 8th September

Along with dance battles, rap battles, food stalls and Sneaker Hawks bringing their flyest footwear with them on the day, the organisers – all voluntarily juggling this with day jobs – hope that it will be an event to remember and enjoyed by as many Brummies as possible. Keeping it fun, family-friendly and free, hopefully, will go a long way to achieving this, I imagine.

Keeping you entertained throughout the day, the High Vis Fest Crew have promised workshops, drawing areas, live music, live drawing and a special showing of Spike Lees’ new critically acclaimed film, Blackkklansman, courtesy of Afroflux and The Mockingbird Cinema at the Custard Factory.

Street art, comics and music will be on showcase at High Vis FestOlly MacNamee
Street art, comics and music will be on showcase at High Vis Fest

The people behind this bold venture – aiming to organise and curate a festival-in-a-day in just under three weeks – all believe in the potential of Birmingham’s artistic community and the potential for this city to stand up and shout about it’s rich legacy, arts and the future for this city.

How do I know? Well, I’m proud to call myself one of the organisers alongside David ‘Panda’ Brown (owner of and one of the director’s of B Side Hip Hop Festival), Juice Aleem (musician, Afrofuturist writer and comic connoisseur), David ‘Footloose’ Russell (Break Mission), Simon ‘Wingy’ Wingfield (Getting Dirty Apparel and renowned street artist), Craig Earp (illustrator and educator) and Dan “Mose 78′ Lloyd (graphic designer, street artist).

And, if you want to get involved and make this festival a reality not only this year but in years to come, do take the time to check out our Kick-starter campaign to contribute by clicking here, or email us about sponsorship opportunities. Alternatively, take a look at our video for more explanation of the day and the crowdfunding campaign.

Let’s make Birmingham great again, people!

High Vis Fest, exploding across the complex on Saturday 8th September, from 11am till 9pm, before moving onto The Ruin for the official after party.

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